INTRODUCTION

I stayed here for two nights between 25 and 27 December 2015. I booked the standard King Deluxe Room on a non-refundable rate.

On the same day I made the reservation, I received an email from a staff member enquiring about whether I need anything arranged (e.g. airport pickup, restaurant reservations). I informed them that I would be staying with my partner for our anniversary and that a Pudong river view is something she has always wished for.

The staff member promptly replied saying that as a Gold, I would be moved into a King Deluxe River Room. This two category upgrade was immediately reflected in my reservation, without having to wait until check-in.


CHECK IN

Upon arrival at the hotel, the door lady took my partner and I’s suitcases and escorted us to the front desk.

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On the way to the front desk, she told us about the hotel’s restaurants, amenities and history. Upon arrival at the front desk, she waited with us until a check-in agent was available. There was no dedicated HHonors priority queue.

Check-in was quick and efficient. I was informed that we had been upgraded to a river view room (which I already knew). As a gold, I was given two coupons for a full buffet breakfast in the Grand Brasserie restaurant and a 200RMB coupon for drinks in the hotel. I believe breakfast for one person is usually about $50, so the complimentary breakfast is a great amenity. 1000 extra points were also given for the stay.

A porter then escorted us to our room (1909) and explained that the fitness centre was open 24 hours a day. I was told that roses and a cheesecake would be given to me as I was staying with my partner for our anniversary.


THE ROOM

The room was very large at about 50m2 and packed full with technology. There is a bed-side tablet which controls everything from drapes, lights to ‘do not disturb’ lights. However, the air conditioning wasn’t strong at all, even when set to the coldest temperature and highest fan setting. If the room was a little hot during winter, I wonder what it would be like during summer.

The work desk was quite large, with a technology kit next to it, providing A/V cables, charger cables, etc. There are charger and other ports available next to the desk. A small welcome rose arrangement was left on the work desk.

The bed was also very comfortable, being large and firm, while retaining an enveloping softness. The bed reminded me of W Hotel beds, which I love. The pillows were firm but soft, but I don’t think I saw a pillow menu.

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I thought the TV was a little small given the distance to the bed. There is also a blu-ray player, so you might be able to rent movies, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t find how to get play-on-demand movies on the TV.

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The room also has:

  • A safe
  • Two robes
  • Two pairs of very comfortably padded slippers
  • Two Waldorf-branded carry bags
  • An umbrella with Shanghai skyline etching in the interior
  • A shoe horn
  • Two shoe tree pairs
  • Nespresso machine with 6x pods
  • 5x bottles of still water
  • 1x bottle of sparkling water

The mini-bar was very extensive with soft drinks, wines, beer and hard liquor. However, there was no champagne.

The night view was spectacular, lighting up at 6pm. The Aurora building is especially bright though, which makes it difficult to take photos of the view. The Oriental Pearl Tower turns off its lights at 10pm.

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BATHROOM

I absolutely loved the bathroom. It is fully marble-clad with a magic mirror which can be turned on and off to see through to the bedroom. About 10 towels were provided, which was more than enough.
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Two sets of Salvatore Ferragamo bathroom amenities was provided, along with:

  • 2x dental kits
  • Shaving kit
  • Mouth wash
  • Shaving kit
  • Mending kit with pre-threaded needles
  • Shoe mitt
  • Shower cap
  • Soap
  • Body cream

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The toilet was a Toto washlet, with heated seats and bidet. A sanitary bag was provided within arm’s reach from the toilet. There were four rolls of toilet paper in the toilet room.

The shower was also fully marble, with both a rainforest and regular shower head. They could be used concurrently. However, I thought the marble tiling in the shower was too harsh with its sharp edges for the feet. While I didn’t use the bath, there was a loofah provided, along with a Ferragamo kit.

There was also a very comfortable bath robe in the bathroom.


SERVICE

As it was an anniversary stay, a cheesecake, fruit platter, chocolates and almond cookies were provided complimentary during turn-down on the first night of the stay. The cheesecake was absolutely delicious, which I believe is also served during afternoon tea in the hotel’s ‘Peacock Alley’.

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I also bought a very cute Waldorf bear in its Christmas kit to add to my Hilton collection. The hotel website also says they sell regular Waldorf bears in a butler costumes. However, when I asked concierge, they said they don’t have a gift shop, so not sure if it can actually be bought. The bear cost 200RMB, which is about $30-$40.

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A big let-down was that when returning to the room on the second day, the plates and cutlery used to eat the cheesecake were still in the room, even though housekeeping had already made up the room. I called the personal assistant to take it away, which took about 30 minutes.

One point of note is that at check-in, I checked in speaking Mandarin. When I called the personal assistant, she spoke to me in Mandarin. However, I spoke back in English, and after that every phone call was in English. It’s the attention to detail like this which makes a great hotel, and a guest feel appreciated.


BREAKFAST

I had breakfast in the Grand Brasserie using the breakfast coupons provided. As it was Christmas, the restaurant was filled with gingerbread and marzipan Christmas decorations, which was a great touch.

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Breakfast is a very extensive full buffet affair, and you can also order one complimentary a la carte dish. They have something called a ‘Perigourdine’ on the menu, which is a foie gras, truffle and duck confit omelette. It is quite a tasty omelette, but probably should have tasted a little better given the ingredients. It also required a little more seasoning.

The hot Western food section of the buffet wasn’t very large, only being fried eggs, hash browns, chicken sausages, bacon and frittatas. However, the Chinese section was quite extensive, including char-siu pork, noodles, rice, fried pastries, dim-sums, soup and congee.

The cold meats, cheeses and breads are typical of what you would find in a hotel executive lounge.

There were also a large variety of fruits, yoghurts, compotes and Western pastries, which were delicious.

As I was recovering from a bit of a hangover, my favourite part was definitely the drinks section, which had a very delicious fresh watermelon juice.

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Service was great, with plates being taken away promptly, cutlery replaced and tea refilled. The wait staff also replenished juices and water, which was a great additional touch. There are a large amount of staff, with an approximate 2 customers per staff member. I really can’t fault the breakfast much, other than it being a little meat-heavy for breakfast. Well done to the team.


BAR

I went for drinks in the Long Bar before a night out. It has a 34 metre long bar, which has an almost pub-like appearance. However, the atmosphere is anything but pub-like.

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There is also an oyster bar with large, delicious-looking oysters. In particular, there is a Waldorf oyster, wrapped in gold foil(?) and wax-stamped with the WA seal. I didn’t try this though as it was quite pricey at about $20 a pop.

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We ordered a ‘Shanghai Club’ cocktail and a ‘Waldorf Queen’ cocktail. The 200RMB drinks credit could be used here. Both cocktails were gin-based and were equally delicious. They were light, not overly-sweet and well-presented. Very refreshing and satisfied. However, at about $25 per cocktail, they are quite expensive. To be fair though, the price range is quite standard at high-end establishments in Shanghai, so represents decent value. Olives and nuts were also provided.

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After 9pm, there is live jazz music in the bar, which adds to the atmosphere. It’s a great place to go for a drink or two before heading elsewhere.

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OVERALL

This was a great stay, complemented by amazing service. While there were a few shortcomings, they weren’t major ones. As with the previous poster, this is probably my new favourite hotel in the world. I will definitely return.

Given the prime location on the touristic Bund strip, I would highly recommend this hotel to any first-time visitor to Shanghai. However, the price point is about double that of other luxury chain hotels in the city, so one might be equally well-served at other properties for less money.

In a nutshell, any (elite) guest at the property can expect great service in a beautiful colonial-style property. Just make sure you get a river view room/suite!

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